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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1562 Blogs, dated 8/2012 [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 4,981
1. 'Artemis Fowl' E-Book Giveaway at Starbucks

Free Artemis Fowl Ebok At Starbucks

from Publishers Weekly:

Children's book fans who love their lattes can enjoy a special treat this week at Starbucks. For the first time, the ubiquitous coffee shop chain, in partnership with Apple's iBookstore, is offering a children's book as part of its Pick of the Week promotion. Customers can receive a free download of Artemis Fowl: Book One by Eoin Colfer (Disney-Hyperion) from iTunes when they use a code found on the Pick of the Week cards distributed in Starbucks stores. The giveaway arrives on the heels of the publication of the eighth and final book in Colfer's series, Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian, which was released in July.

Note: the free book is the first in the series, not the last and most recent title

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Guardian Review

The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond reviewed by Simon Mason

Almond has produced a circus ride of a story, with thrills and spills and all the fun of the fair. There are glittery prizes to be had, and big fat morals printed in coloured letters ("the little troubled runts are often the ones that turn out to be best of all"), as well as quiet moments in the silvery moonlight. Generally the pace is hectic (quadruple verb-clusters a speciality) and the action bold.


Is it a success? For me, its freewheeling style disguises some difficulties. The opening fish-canning factory section, which seems a perfect fit with the swimming-with-piranhas ending, has a demented tone and pitch that is out of kilter with the rest of the book. The incompetent DAFT bunch seem unable to locate their proper role. The story has magic but lacks danger or fear. But the author's generosity of spirit saves it. There's no mistaking the hallmark Almond tenderness and the willingness to work with the common things of life, which animate it from start to finish and make it good. SIMON MASON

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3. Roald Dahl: my hero | Books | The Guardian

Roald Dahl: My Hero by Michael Rosen

Latest in The Guardian's My Hero feature:

Roald Dahl: my hero 'He was one of the first writers who can be read and enjoyed by children to show us adults in familiar, everyday situations failing spectacularly, grotesquely and exaggeratedly in this job of nurture' Michael Rosen

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I know you’re all busily enjoying The Manual of Aeronautics, but it’s the time for Fan Art Friday Fortnightly! And as a bonus, this FAFF is actually a fortnight after the last one. (Tiny w00t.)

And so we begin with this from Sandra G:

Somewhat larger w00t!

Thanks to you all for your comments and enthusiasm. It’s been really fun seeing the book out in the world.

Next, we have this pissed-off Leviathan by Nicole Marquez (AKA adventaim on DeviantArt).

I like it when the airbeast can haz all the feelings, even when the foremost feeling is hey-I’m-going-to-kick-yer-butt!

And speaking of emotions (masterful segue!) check out this lovely pencil work of a laughing Deryn from Lauren S:

I like how happy Deryn is in lots of fan art. It was really important for her to be a joyful person, given that Alek was depressed all the time. Of course, as the series progresses, the two of them switch places to some extent.

This piece by jurodo was part of Dalek Week, which we’ve already covered, but I missed it. And it rules! So here it is a few weeks late:

And here are two more Spore pieces from Oskar, a message lizard and a monoplane, because everyone likes message lizards, especially when they have big kawaii eyes that seem to say, “Please give me a message, I’d love to take your message somewhere!”

Nice monoplane too. The Spore stuff is all so friendly.

And finally, in honor of the Uglies quartet boxed set that just came out with the new covers . . .

Alert! Shameless advertising in the middle of FAFF!

. . . here’s a remix of all four covers by Hannah A:

Those are pretty cool. I wonder if a time will ever come when we all just put our own covers on books, because they’re either all print-on-demand or electronic or something. That would be cool.

Okay, that’s it. Hope you’re all having a good end of summer. It’s the first day of spring here in Sydney, because we do it all backwards and on the first instead of the 21st of the month! (Wait. You do your seasons backwards? And offset by 21 days? Isn’t that, like, one thing too many?)


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5. 'Why do you write about the sea?' Liz Kessler

You might perhaps know that I write books about mermaids. If you do, you might possibly also know that I have a new book out this month. In fact, this week! It's called Emily Windsnap and the Land of the Midnight Sun. It is the fifth book in a series about a completely ordinary, modern girl called Emily Windsnap, who just happens to discover during a school swimming lesson that when she goes in water she becomes a mermaid.

People often ask me where I get the inspiration for these books. Well, this month, I would simply like to share something with you which I believe answers that question better than I could ever do with words.

It's something that I experienced a couple of weeks ago and was one of the most magical evenings of my life. I made a video of it, which I've been showing to as many people as possible because I just want to share this beautiful moment. So apologies if you've seen it before. Actually, scratch that, I make no apologies for giving you the chance to watch it twice!

So, get yourself a cuppa, or a bar of chocolate - or both. Settle down in your chair, get comfy, click the link below and treat yourself to a magical four minutes.

Huge Pod of Beautiful Dolphins in St Ives Bay

Liz x

Find out more about Liz (& this month's Emily Windsnap Friendship Festival!) on her Website
Follow Liz on Twitter
Join Liz's Facebook page

4 Comments on 'Why do you write about the sea?' Liz Kessler, last added: 9/19/2012
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6. Rodriguez Searching for Sugarman. De La Ventana art

guest column by Pocho Joe

Sixto Diaz Rodriguez was born in 1942 to Mexican parents who immigrated to the United States in or about the 1920’s. Sixto and his siblings were hijos and hijas of the immigration history de la frontera.

His parents settled in Detroit, Michigan, only to secure permanent work in the foundries and auto factories in the post World War II victory boom. Sixto had to learn English and assimilate as a child in order to belong to the Detroit Public School system, but more importantly, not to be viewed as an alien presence in Motown. Sixto is a genius. During the 1960’s and ‘70’s his talents were invisible, ignored and devalued.

A 2012 documentary, Searching for Sugarman was released, telling his story. This is a tale that William Shakespeare, the Bible nor Beowulf could have imagined! Beyond the fantastic Sixto biography, this documentary represents how our gente’s talents, genius and contributions to culture are silenced, denied and just plain disregarded. Sixto should be both a Chicano noble as well as an American icon.

Tal vez, do yourself a favor and check out this superbly presented bio-doc. Ójala que you will agree not only with his perspective, but with the perspective that ought to be.
Malinche by De La Ventana

Hispanic Art Exhibit, Pueblo, Colo. 

By coincidence(?), La Bloga also received the following from a reader:

The art of De La Ventana (aka Pocho Joe and Darold Vigil) will be part of the 2012 Colorado State Fair’s Hispanic Art Exhibit, Aug. 23 – Sept. 3, 2012.

A reception will be held on Sat., September 1 from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the Cultural Heritage Center on the fair grounds. There is a charge for admission to the Fair but this exhibit is free.
De La Ventana

Hispanic Art Exhibit  – 11am–10pm
The Hispanic Art Exhibit will celebrate its 12th anniversary this year at the Colorado State Fair. Coordinated by El Escritorio Publishing, the exhibit will showcase Hispanic art and culture through an art exhibit at the Cultural Heritage Center in Triangle Park. This year’s theme is “Tradition, Imagination and Innovation” in Hispanic art.

This year’s artists will be John Mendoza and his beautiful watercolor paintings, David Ocelotl Garcia, a Denver muralist, Brian Palomar, Sofia Hernandez, Trisha Hernandez, Marcos Polito, Inez Sanchez, Claudia Perez, De La Ventana,Robert Martinez, Philip Salazar, Anita Rodriguez, Evelyn Martinez and more. Don’t miss this colorful exhibit.

Colorado State Fair, 1001 Beulah Ave., Pueblo, Colo., 10am - 11pm
General Admission, Friday thru Sunday–$10
Children 5 and under free (accompanied by an adult)

From the Fair website: "The pseudonym, De La Ventana was selected because of the artist's belief that the focus of art in any form should be about the art and not a subjective spotlight on the art maker. Art should stimulate and evoke a range of emotions from the viewer as well as push their perceptual and cognitive boundaries. Ventana (window) is also a metaphor for the view from one’s opening mind. He uses a myriad of subject matter to explore his Chicano-Mestizo historical and cultural roots with pride.

"Currently he is an on-air radio host in Denver at public radio station KUVO, 89.3. He uses yet another pseudonym, Pocho Joe, during his radio program called La Raza Rocks heard Sundays from 1:00p.m. - 2:00p.m. He believes, as in his art, the radio show’s focus should be about the musical artists, their stories and messages in the music rather than the DJ. You can stream KUVO on-line here."

RudyG: So today's two cultural news pieces are by the same person, only under two (are there more?) pseudonyms, but his real name is not included. I wasn't able to locate a photo for either pseudonym. Go to the Fair to see one of his pseudonym faces or to KUVO to hear his voice.

I'll put in my own recommendation on De La Ventana'sartwork, because I'm one of the lucky handful with one. They are distinctive, chicanada fine art and wonderful to behold. Plus, Cheech Marin has nothing like them. Oh, and his radio selections are suave.

Es todo, hoy,

1 Comments on Rodriguez Searching for Sugarman. De La Ventana art, last added: 9/19/2012
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7. Greetings from New Mexico...

We're on vacation, didn't have time to get a post done before we left. I'll be back in two weeks. Hope you enjoy the illustrations on this vintage postcard!

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8. Treats for Younger Readers

Three delightful books for younger readers.

Rainbow Street Pets Wendy Orr (Allen&Unwin)
Rainbow Street Animal Shelter is not the usual animal rescue centre. It has a talking cockatoo in the reception area greeting visitors as they arrive.
The roll call of characters through the shelter include Bear the border collie, Buster the marmalade cat, a pony called Pebbles and Bessy the goat, as well as rabbits and guinea pigs and mice – and of course the children who interact with the animals. Even a lion cub is part of the Rainbow Street story. The stories include Mona, her grandparetns and a very old house, and the creation of the Animal Shelter is delightful; a dog who was lost by one and found by another; a cat that is lost and rescied and then needs a new home. 
This is a lovely book, perfect for younger readers who love animals. First released internationally as six individual stories, this compilation will be rapidly read. The stories are warm and show the loving relationship between humans and their pets – or the pets and their humans! Great lessons too about the responsibility of pet ownership and giving pets as presents.

Tournament Trouble (Sword Girl #3) Frances Watts & Gregory Rogers (Allen&Unwin)
She is back again … Thomasina, the scruffy maid, who became the Flamant Castle’s Keeper of the Blades (Sword Girl) who one days hope to become a squire. To do that she first must learn to ride and to joust but her task is to maintain the castle swords in perfect condition for the knights. She fears that the castle will never let a girl ride in a tournament but that soon changes when one of the squires is injured during jousting training. Sir Benedict offers Tommy a place in the tournament but first she has to learn to ride but how can she do that in just a few days. And to make things worse her horse Bess throws Tommy every time she sits on his back. Why doesn’t the calmest horse in the castle like Tommy? Or is there something more sinister involved?

The Sword Girl series for younger readers – especially girls who want a strong girl character - are just a delight. Tommy is a wonderful, strong-willed, determined and daring. She is also kind, thoughtful and a little vulnerable as well. There is a talking cat that gives advice, a crocodiddle who also talks and int his story provides the essential riding lessons that sword girl needs. There are the castle swords that talk – and of course a trouble-making boy!
The humorous illustrations by Gregory Rogers are a perfect part of the Sword Girl stories.
Also available The Siege Scare (Sword Girl # 4)

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9. Hurricane Preparedness for Writers

Since Hurricane Isaac blew past my house the other day dumping rain and rolling thunder, then moving on to pour down it's wrath on Haiti, Louisiana, and many places in between, I was reminded of an old post here on Writermorphosis that we had fun with a couple of years back.  That post -- meant to be a humorous look at how writers can (and should) prepare for unexpected things like natural disasters (by backing up your work, etc) -- initiated a fun discussion on what real writers do and "should do" to keep their manuscripts and works-in-progress safe from flood, fire, electical outage, or any other sort of disaster.

When I went back to read the old post I noticed that one of our upcoming "Each One Teach One" authors, Kathleen Duey, author of more than 50 books for young readers and teens, including the brilliant Skin Hunger, made a great suggestion at the bottom of the hurricane post, way back in 2008.  Thanks Kathleen!

So, as folks are drying out, wringing out, and cleaning up from Hurricane Isaac, I'm reposting "Hurricane Preparedness for Writers" as today's post. (Click the link to read it!) I hope you will enjoy it, and share your comments on ways to keep your writer's life safe from disaster. : )  Meanwhile for those who are mopping up from Hurricane Isaac -- our thoughts are with you.  For those who wish to assist them please contact The American Red Cross.

We'll look for Kathleen Duey's "Each One Teach One" interview in Mid-September, as well as other "Each One Teach One" Author Interviews on topics ranging from "fantasy novel world-building," to characterization, to making your way through the publishing industry. See you then!

Happy Labor Day Weekend to those reading this blog in the U.S.!

1 Comments on Hurricane Preparedness for Writers, last added: 9/19/2012
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10. Illustrator Saturday – Kim Dwinell

This week we have Kim Dwinell a California Girl who comes from a background in animation.  She also teaches animation and is going for her MFA in Illustration at CSU at Fullerton. 

She is currently working on a graphic novel titled, Surfside Girls, painting the domestic life of bugs, and doing freelance illustration.

Of course, living in California has given Kim the opportunity to become a surfer girl, a mom, a runner, and she says  occasionally even squeezes in cleaning her house.

Here is Kim explaining her process:

I do value studies on little “thumbnail” drawings to try and figure out where my light source is and where the shadows fall. I like to be absolutely clear on that before I start painting, since the way light is handled tells us so much- what time of day or what time of year it is, and it also reinforces the illusion of depth and form. Some artists are really intuitive about all of this, but I feel like I have to work it out logically first or I end up unhappy.

When I work in either red or blue pencil, I am again turning to my animation roots- animators do rough animation in blue (most studios) or red (Disney) Col-erase pencils. This method helps to “find” the drawing while staying loose and flowy. When the lines are where they’re supposed to be, then graphite is put on top. The scanning computers are calibrated to not pick up either the blue or red. I still use the Col-erase when I’m trying to find the drawing- it somehow feels like an intermediate step before fully committing in graphite.

Often I’ll go over and over with these pencils on layers of either tracing paper or animation paper, which is a little less transparent, like bond. When I finally find what I’m looking for, I’ll put it all together and graphite transfer that. The Col-erase is handy there, too, since I can use a different color line to see what I’ve already traced off.

All of this process is very meditative for me. When I’m actually working on my graphic novel, there is a lot less time to plan things out. I draw straight to the watercolor block, and paint straight ahead. It’s a very different way of working, kind of like the difference between a long, slow run and a sprint.

Also, SUP Asphalt style was done on 150 lb Arches hot-press watercolor paper, stretched and stapled onto plywood. I really love the process of preparing a paper to paint on- the soaking, the stapling, letting it dry on the porch, and the pristine surface when it’s ready.

I used Photoshop to combine the gestures of the girls and the sketches I had done from my photo reference of the environment and printed it out on printer paper.

I then graphite transferred that drawing to the watercolor paper. This is another one of my favorite parts- the clean transferred drawing on the clean paper. I use a 6B to color the back of the drawing to be transferred, I can’t stand transfer paper.

I then printed several thumbnail versions of the Photoshop-combined sketch onto one paper and did marker value studies. This clears up all light logic issues before paint goes to paper.

 I then, if the drawing is in daylight, wash the whole thing (besides any white highlights) with a yellow ochre. From this point, I feel I’ve done all the prep I can do, and I paint straight ahead until it’s done.

How long have you been illustrating?

Right after graduating with my BFA in 1993 I shared office space with a writer and a graphic designer in Laguna Beach. My “pay” was to have a desk in the office with no rent, and I did illustration and design for both of them to get some experience. That was a fun time. I went from that to animation, and then went back to grad school in 2007 to get back in touch with illustration.

What was the first thing you have painted where you got paid?

During those same days in Laguna I got some work doing logos. I did an illustrated logo for a marble craftsman and was so proud to see it on a business card and letterhead.

Have you seen your work change since you started?

I very quickly got hired into entry-level animation at various studios in Burbank. I utilized all of the variety of classes the studios offered- plein-air painting, figure drawing, animation, layout, sculpting, child drawing… the list could go on! That more than anything influenced how my work changed- I started understanding the form in everything.

I noticed you have an animation background.  How did you get involved in that?

“In the back door,” as they say. I didn’t have the money to go to CalArts, so I pasted together an education for about a year after graduating (from CSU Fullerton with my BFA in Illustration) by taking classes at the Animation Union, at ASIFA Hollywood, and at a local high school that offered animation as an ROP program. I drew and drew and drew, in figure drawing classes and at the zoo, and went to any conference where they might be hiring animators. I got my big break when I was given a hot tip at a conference to apply at Rich Animation, which was my first job. They hired me as an inbetweener. I was so nervous I didn’t talk to anyone the first couple of months on the job.

Do you see any opportunities for illustrator in that field?

There is a ton of crossover between illustration and animation. Right now I’m really enamored with the graphic novel I’m working on, because I feel it’s the closest I can get to doing both. Graphic novels are like storyboarding for animation, but with an illustration twist and page turns. Studios also utilize illustrators for character design, storyboarding and concept art.

Do you think an illustrator could learn to do some animation on their own?  What program would you suggest?  Flash?

Animation is physics plus drawing. It’s a whole different way of thinking of drawing, but an illustrator could totally work it out! The Preston Blair book “Cartoon Animation” is a great place to start. I wouldn’t suggest Flash, but a traditional capture program like DigiCel Flipbook would be a great choice. There is also a great website called animationresources.org that has a ton of useful information.

I see that you are going for your MFA. Could you give us the low down on what types of things you are learning?

Aha! I have to update my website! I have completed my MFA in Illustration from CSU Fullerton last year. It was a great experience to go back to school as an older student, knowing what holes I had in my education and filling them. I took some great classes- Plein Air painting in oils was one of the most delightful- but what I really got out of grad school was the focus I needed to get Surfside Girls off the ground. I used that project as my MFA show, and did my thesis on (deep breath) The Necessity of Social Media Promotion for the Success of Middle Grade Fiction. Whew. Basically I dug into the internet/ social media support of a fiction world- how an author has a whole new set of tools to reach an audience.  I studied how Kathleen Duey did a Twitter novel, and how Jeff Kinney started posting Diary of a Wimpy Kid on his Funbrain site. It inspired me to build a Surfside Girls website to extend the world I created.

I see that you are going for your MFA.  Could you give us the low down on what types of things you are learning?

Aha! I have to update my website! I have completed my MFA in Illustration from CSU Fullerton last year. It was a great experience to go back to school as an older student, knowing what holes I had in my education and filling them. I took some great classes- Plein Air painting in oils was one of the most delightful- but what I really got out of grad school was the focus I needed to get Surfside Girls off the ground. I used that project as my MFA show, and did my thesis on (deep breath) The Necessity of Social Media Promotion for the Success of Middle Grade Fiction. Whew. Basically I dug into the internet/ social media support of a fiction world- how an author has a whole new set of tools to reach an audience.  I studied how Kathleen Duey did a Twitter novel, and how Jeff Kinney started posting Diary of a Wimpy Kid on his Funbrain site. It inspired me to build a Surfside Girls website to extend the world I created.

I read about you doing a mural for your son’s 5th grade school cafeteria. Can you tell us something about that project? What material are you using? Do you have any pictures?

No, that one fell apart, PTA issues. Better to not talk about that one. A wretched example of miscommunication and artist abuse.

Is Surfside Girls going to be a e-book? a self-published book? or are you under contract with a publisher to write and illustrate it?

After some editing, rewriting and repainting, my agent will be sending it out in the next month or so. Fingers crossed! It’s a project that’s really close to my heart.

Do you have an agent?

I do have a lovely agent- her name is Andrea Cascardi and she’s with Transatlantic Literary Agency. She had worked previously for a number of years as an editor, so I feel very confident about her editorial suggestions. It’s great to have another set of eyes I trust looking over things before they go out for submission.

Do you have and use a graphic tablet?

I do not own a graphic tablet. I’m not opposed, but it hasn’t made its way into my toolbox yet. I’m really tactile and have resisted because I love the initial graphite-on-white-paper thing that happens when starting a drawing. I’m not sure a tablet could ever replace that for me. It does have that Command Z thing though…

Do you use Photoshop with any of your work?

I do use Photoshop to adjust color levels sometimes and to add text to speech balloons.

Do you have a studio in your house?

I do have a studio in the house. It’s out of convenience; we had an extra bedroom, and it’s right next to the sunroom, and it’s actually a really nice space. However, those of you who work at home know the challenges. The laundry’s beeping that it’s done, the dog keeps dropping her ball in my lap, the boy wants to know if I can drive him somewhere. You sure can’t beat the commute, though.

Do you follow any type of routine to attain your career goals?

I feel I have a nice balance in my life right now. I teach two classes at local universities, and that leaves me time to continue working on Surfside Girls. I have had to severely limit my focus to keep myself on track, and I think that’s the biggest step in attaining my goals. Initially as an illustrator I was producing new work all of the time, printing postcards, doing mailers, going to conferences and networking. I realized that what I need to do now is finish my project and get it out there. Not that those other things aren’t extremely important, but at a certain point in time you have to commit to one specific thing and see it through.

Any tips that you can share that might help an illustrator?

It is so important to have a support group of other illustrators. They keep you accountable and sane. Equally important is drawing every day. I learned in animation to carry a sketchbook everywhere and to constantly observe and record people and environments. I don’t think anything improves your drawing skills as much as this “café sketching.”

Are there any painting tips (materials, etc) you can share that work well for you? Technique tips?

I struggled putting watercolor over my ink drawings until I found the brown-ink Micron pens. I realized that often my color pallette is very light and the black was killing it. I also love Prismacolor grayscale markers for quick value studies. I usually do a value study for anything I’m going to paint- I don’t trust myself to understand light intuitively. Animation days have also taught me to keep a mirror by my desk where I can watch myself make the expressions I need to draw in my characters. Making the faces in the mirror is really embarrasing to do at first, and then it just embarrasses your kids. Oh, and I love how Windsor Violet lets me create shadows, especially in my Southern California light.

What kinds of things do you do to promote yourself?

I have done all of the things I mentioned before, but right now I make sure I post here and there on facebook and my blog, just to let people know what I’m up to. I post to the Surfside Girls facebook page anytime I have something new on the website. I also occasionally enter competitions and group shows.

Do you have any stories to go with your bug or fairy illustrations? Any book dummies?

I raised two older boys and have my own little one, so I think the fairies are really my need to be girly coming out. And the bugs are a reflection on the time I spent at home as a new mom raising my son- they have a lot to do with domestic life (I can’t tell you why it all came out in bugs!) Then out of the blue I started to see some imagery that was a little bit darker than what I ususally do. It involves both fairies- a tougher bunch of fairies- and mantises, and epic, medieval battle scenes. I don’t know quite where it’s going yet, but it’s on the back burner since I’m so involved in my current project. I have another dummy book on the back burner, it involves a capybara and a gecko.

Have you had an illustrations published in children’s magazines? If so, where. If not, is that something you would like to pursue?

I did a few illustrations for the L.A. Times Kids Reading Room, and enjoyed that immensely. I would love to do children’s magazines as well, but haven’t so far.

Do you have an words of wisdom to share with other illustrators?

I’m a great champion of believing in yourself and supporting your friends. Oh, and also for giving yourself a break. Some of my best work has come after giving myself some time out to clear my head. Without a refill, we go dry pretty quickly. Sometimes the beach IS a better choice than the drawing board, as long as you do go back to the drawing board.

I thought you would be interested on seeing how an illustrator take notes at a conference. This is a page from Kim’s notebook at the LA SCBWI Conference in 2010.

Thank you Kim for sharing you work and process with us. Wishing good fortune with Surfside Girls Make sure you let us know when it gets published. I am sure we are going to see your domestic bugs showing up in a book one of these days.

You can visit Kim’s at: www.kimdwinell.com  I am sure Kim would love for you to leave her a comment, so if you have a minute please leave a comment.  Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, demystify, illustrating, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Interview, Process Tagged: Andrea Cascardi, Kim Dwindell, Transatlantic Literary Agency

6 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Kim Dwinell, last added: 9/3/2012
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11. Fairy Tale Celebs

Hello and Happy September! This month we thought it'd be fun to do a celebrity Fairy Tales post. We hope you enjoy!

~ Bee, Cally, Jennifer, Julissa, Nina & Shirley

~ Nina ~

~ Cally ~

  ~ Shirley ~

~ Bee ~ 

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12. Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Middle school has tons of drama. Tons. So you can imagine what it's like being involved in a middle school play: there's constant drama on and off the stage! Filled with life, energy, and color, the brand-new graphic novel Drama by Raina Telgemeier is a must-have for anyone who works backstage or on stage, and should be immediately placed in the hands of middle school students, drama teachers, and comic book collectors alike. But you don't have to know the theatre to appreciate the story - pretty much anyone who's suffered the mortification and triumphs of middle school, first crushes, and group projects can relate!

Callie, the book's spunky protagonist, is thrilled when Mr. Madera announces the selection for the school's spring musical: Moon Over Mississippi, a musical Callie l-o-v-e-s. When the the student stage crew is assembled with their director/supervisor, duties are quickly divvied up: Callie volunteers to be in charge of set design, while her friend Liz becomes the costume designer. Loren's set to be the stage manager; Delfina signs up for makeup; Matt will hit the lights; Mirko's doing sound; Sanjay will help with carpentry.

And just like that, the next fourteen weeks fly by, packed with breakups, shakeups, schoolwork, and rehearsals. Before they know it, the curtain's rising on opening night. Soon afterwards, the drama continues at a school dance.

Laid out in the customary graphic novel fashion, with clear panels and gorgeous colors by Gurihiru, the book also pulls in the feel of a play, with an overture that sets the scene, then act breaks - even an entr'acte! - all leading to The End. For those of you who like to read the scene breakdown in the program before the house lights dim, here you go: In Act I, we meet Callie's initial crush and the stage crew. Act II introduces us to Jesse and Justin, twin brothers who quickly befriend Callie. During the auditions in Act III, Justin shines, and Jesse joins the stage crew. Rehearsals continue in Act IV, tech in Act V, performances in Act VI, and the school dance in Act VII. The final act wraps up the storylines and the school year.

Callie gets an A+ for being such an awesome lead character. She speaks her mind a lot of the time, but still gets tongue-tied (or thumb-tied, when texting or sending IMs) sometimes. She's loyal to her buddies and extremely devoted to the show. She really wants her set to pop - truly! With the show set in the time of the Civil War, she's determined to figure out a way to make functioning, confetti-spewing cannons. Subtle lessons about responsibility are taught within these pages, as some students bite off more than they can chew while others really pay attention to detail and do their research. For example, Callie and Liz watch films like Gone With the Wind to get ideas for their designs, and Callie has many a sleepless night over the creation of her cannons...and what's going on with her friends.

The cast is extremely diverse, not only in heritage and appearance but also in personality and personal style and interests. From the moment the twins are introduced, you can hear Justin's bubbly voice and Jesse's slightly quieter one. There's something about these brothers that makes you want to hug them. Energetic Justin practically jumps off the page, squeeing (yes, he has a speech bubble which says, "Squee!") and telling Callie, "You are officially my new favorite person." (He also approves of her name: "Callie! What a happy-sounding name, very sunshiny.") By contrast, Callie's best friend Liz is very calm, and Jesse, who becomes Callie's new crush, is somewhere in-between.

The crushes keep crushing; Callie's not the only one confused about who she likes, and who likes her. In a wonderful scene, one of the teens confides in another, revealing that a character is gay. Someone confides in someone else, and it's simply the truth, no shame, no heaviness to it. If only all books (and films, and TV shows) handled all characters' lives in such a way, to be aware of what could be called sensitive subject matter but not shying away from it, and letting it be simply the truth rather than A Big Deal (or a ratings gimmick), then more readers/viewers would see themselves in those characters and thus respond more strongly and positively to the stories being told.

All of the characters who are working on Moon Over Mississippi have found a sanctuary in their school's theatre. Whether they are working on props, practicing lines, setting up lights, looking through old costumes, or waiting in the wings, they are safe - and excited, and nervous, and anxious.

This book also includes not one but two memorable trips to bookstores. Look at the reactions Callie has on pages 128-130: absolutely priceless, and completely felt by ANYONE who has ever entered a building, a museum, a store, any place that's all about something they love more than anything.

When the last curtain dropped, and I found I had reached the end of the book, I wanted to re-read the entire thing right away. I would have, too, if I hadn't had to go on stage. This is a true story. Just ask Raina: She received photographic evidence of me reading this book backstage!

You might be thinking, "Oh, she loved this book just because she loves the theatre." No, I loved this book because it's awesome. I loved this book because Raina Telgemeier's artwork is wonderful, and because she's a masterful storyteller, both in words and pictures. I loved the characters, the colors, the details, the dialogue. I wish my middle school productions had been this cool, and I wish I had friends like Callie's, and a friend like Callie. I can only hope that my work as an actress and as a writer inspires others like Raina's has inspired her fellow artists and readers.

If you loved Telgemeier's previous graphic novels, including Smile and the illustrated versions of The Baby-Sitters Club, then you're going to love this book.

Drama is available in both softcover AND hardcover, published by Scholastic Graphix.

Related Posts and Outside Links

Read my interview with Raina Telgemeier.

Consult my Middle School Must-Haves Booklist.

Watch the Drama trailer on YouTube.

Virtually flip through the book.

Check out the #DRAMADAY contest!

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13. Serving Teen Parents Part 1: A Conversation with Sarah Nordhausen

This year the ALSC committee, Library Services to Special Populations and Their Caregivers, received several applications for the ALSC/Candlewick “Light the Way: Outreach to the Underserved” Grant for programs aimed at serving teen parents. The committee wanted to bring attention to this patron population and find out more about how libraries can meet their dual (teen and parent) needs.

I recently interviewed Sarah Nordhausen, co-author of Serving Teen Parents: From Literacy to Life Skills (ISBN 1598846930), about her experiences working with teen parents. In part two, I speak with Sarah’s co-author, Ellin Klor.

How did you start working with teen parents?

Sarah: Prior to working in libraries, I worked with a family literacy program with youth in the foster care system. When I worked at San Mateo County Library, the library received a grant for youth literacy and decided to focus on teen parents. For the grant we partnered with two organizations in the highest need areas of the community and my work with teen parents developed from there.

Did your library offer services or programs to the teen parents that are different from services offered to teens who aren’t parents?

Sarah: Absolutely, but the needs of parent and non-parent teens are similar and different. They may be interested in regular teen programming but can’t participate due to child care or other issues like transportation. The best way is to go to them in their facility and talk to them about integrating literacy with everyday activities with their child. For example, I talked with them about the importance of play, things like making Play-doh with your child, and all that comes from spending time with child. Since they’re also teens I did job search and resume building workshops, as well as fun stuff like self-care and make-your-own-facial workshops, spa days, and relaxation and stress reduction techniques. The needs of the teen are to be independent but the needs of the parents are to care for the child; it’s harder for them to do self-exploration and develop who they are when they have a child. I tried to do programming that met both needs.

How do you balance serving the literacy needs of the parent and those of the child?

Sarah: Some moms were reading below their grade level and I was lucky to have an adult literacy program in the county to recommend to moms. It’s hard to meet the literacy needs of your children when you can’t read, so we explored other literacy opportunities like storytelling and other techniques that they can still participate in with their child. Some moms became better readers because they wanted to read to their child.

What would you say is a growing need for teen parents?

Sarah: The library is in a unique position. Libraries can offer services that meet their needs as parents and as teens: regular teen workshops related to life skills such as resume building, job search, and fun stuff like connecting with other teens; and helping them to be the best teacher to their child by providing services on the importance of reading to their children. On a bigger scope, having library staff understand teen parents’ needs and their circumstances and being more flexible. For example, with story time staff needs to understand that the parent is still young and their child management skills are still growing, give them an alternative to participating. Teen parents may have had negatives experiences with libraries and the library staff needs training on the developmental needs of this group.

Tell us about any partnerships or collaborations you have with other organizations? What advice do you have for setting up these partnerships?

Sarah: Partnerships are the way to go because it’s a tough population to identify; they are not always library users. Find an agency that already serves the population. I previously worked with a mental health clinic in Half Moon Bay that already had teen parent group and I approached them to work with their teen parents. Once a month I attended their regular programs doing literacy-based work with parents and children together. Story time with a craft was an opportunity for moms to spend quality time with their children and a good opportunity to model activities to do at home. Another partnership came together after attending a collaborative meeting with various organizations. Afterwards I was invited to help a faith-based organization that also had a transitional housing facility for young mothers. This group had child care so I worked with mothers only. This allowed for more in-depth conversations with mothers around their needs. Someone from library also came in to do early literacy with the children while in child care. My advice is to partner with agencies, schools, community groups, and find them by attending community meetings.

In what ways can libraries and staff support teen parents?

Sarah: Let teens know about other community resources. Teen parents’ needs are diverse and the library can’t meet them all; serving as community connection is a simple way to make impact with moms.

Have you heard from other libraries since publishing your book? What has been the response?

Sarah: We’ve received lots of feedback. We continue to promote services to teen parents through different programming ideas at conferences. I’ve had calls from librarians around the country asking further questions.

What do you like most about working with teen parents?

Sarah: I am amazed by their resiliency and their strength and all that they do. I enjoy seeing them grow. If they show up (at library programs) they want to be there. They want to learn and be the best parents they can be.

Thanks, Sarah, for sharing your experiences of working with teen parents at the library. Sarah Nordhausen recently moved to Seattle, WA and looks forward to making new connections. You can reach Sarah at sarahnordhausen@gmail.com. Stay tuned for my interview with Ellin Klor.

If your library is working with teen parents, please tell us about your work in the comments.

Interviewed by Africa Hands, Library Services to Special Populations and Their Caregivers Committee Member

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14. Back to the Books Giveaway Hop (9/1 – 9/7)

Not all books have to be boring! Enter to have your chance at the selection of books below. Prizes Science Fiction Paranormal Thriller YA Fantasy MG/YA Fantasy YA Science Fiction   YA Paranormal Romance YA Paranormal Romance YA Paranormal Romance Paranormal Romance Paranormal Romance Science Fiction Speculative Fiction   Enter the Giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway [...]

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Artie’s new story The Race for Space was published in the September issue of the Teachers.net Gazette. To read the story please click on the image below. (This story is dedicated to the memory of Neil Armstrong, whose courage and heroism will live on forever)

Artie’s children’s book Living Green: A Turtle’s Quest for a Cleaner Planet is now available as a free video for kids through StoryCub. A shortlist finalist for the national 2012 Green Earth Book Award, Thurman the turtle is tired of seeing the land he loves cluttered with trash and decides to take action.

To watch the Living Green video and many other books on StoryCub.org, please click on the cover below. StoryCub videos are one of the most watched programs on Apple’s iTunes Kids & Family section.


Use of any of the content on this website without permission is prohibited by federal law

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16. Theory: The Klein Pyramid of Literary Quality

I am finishing out this month of blogging (hooray!) with a theory I've been working on for some time. Last February, thanks to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars -- which I loved intensely and immensely -- I was thinking about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and how it might apply to literary judgments. That is, to use the books within the book of The Fault in Our Stars (which form an important part of the narrative), what makes The Price of Dawn (an action-adventure novel based on a video game) better or worse than An Imperial Affliction (a literary novel about life, love, death, and the existence of God)? Is one better or worse? How do we decide that? And for me, in my real-world daily life:  What makes one manuscript better than another on a solely literary basis? To answer these questions, I hereby present, as a hypothesis up for discussion, the Klein Pyramid of Literary Quality:

(My original sketch of the pyramid above; much more readable version created by the kind Ed DeCaria.) To take these from the bottom (lowest level) up:

1. COMPLETION. The literary work is complete. (Lots of writers never even get here -- a completed manuscript -- so truly, this counts for something.)

2. COMPETENCE. The literary work is readable and understandable by a reader who is not the author.

3. CHARISMA. The literary work is able to make you feel the emotion the writer intends you-the-reader to feel, so well as that intention can be discerned. (While the subject of intention is clearly nebulous and much debated, I feel as if it is safe to say Pride and Prejudice is intended to make a reader laugh, for example, while Pet Sematary is intended to scare us, and any romance novel is intended to make readers fall in love along with the characters.)

3. QUALITY. The literary work displays some measure of imagination, originality, and/or accomplishment in at least once of these areas: Prose, Character, Plot. Ideally, all three aspects of the Quality triangle will work together to contribute to the book's Charisma or Questioning or both.

3. QUESTIONING. The literary work intentionally asks and answers questions about our human existence. (See above for caveats on intention.)

4. CONSONANCE. The literary work successfully integrates all of the above into a meaningful and beautiful whole. Consonance books are masterpieces.

How to Use This Pyramid:  To measure the literary quality of the work, you fill in all the triangles/trapezoids the particular work has achieved according to you, the reader. The darker the pyramid, the better the book is. A book must have all of the triangles/trapezoids of the previous level filled in to advance to the next level. Thus, for me, The Fault in Our Stars would be one solid dark triangle, because I think it does everything well, up to and including Consonance. But Twilight would be a dark trapezoid at the bottom (Levels 1 and 2) with just the Charisma triangle filled in above it, as it totally caught me up in the feelings of falling in love, even as I was not overly impressed by any of its Quality attributes, and I don't think Ms. Meyer especially intended to Question anything. An intensely didactic picture book might fill in Levels 1 and 2 but then have only the Questioning triangle complete, as it's asking how we should live and then answering that question, but with no emotional appeal (Charisma) at all.

Each judgment would be peculiar to its reader and the date s/he read the work, as opinions vary widely and can change over time; but that is where half the fun of literary discussion comes in, as one reader might say "Oh, this book was totally Charismatic for me!" and another would sniff, "Hmph. It barely achieved Competence!" The more widely it is agreed a book fills up the pyramid, the closer to classic status it moves in the public eye. And this pyramid has nothing to do with sales or other financial success; it is for aesthetic judgments only.

There are two more concepts that I've puzzled over whether and how to include in the pyramid:  the ideas of Pleasure and Ethics. Gone with the Wind, for instance, would have earned Consonance from me when I read it in seventh grade, and it Pleased me intensely at the time, but it's also a book rife with racial stereotypes; should it then not be allowed to achieve Consonance in my judgment, because its Ethics are bad? Or Waiting for Godot is likewise Consonant for me, but I hated reading it (I've never seen it staged):  Can it then not be Consonant because I didn't take Pleasure in it? (I guess there was some Pleasure in recognizing the mastery of the construction, how completely the Quality of its plot, characters, and prose contributed to the Questioning and Charisma it wanted to achieve; but none of that really made up for my desire for someone to move, dammit.) (Also, clearly, I would have to come up with synonyms for "Pleasure" and "Ethics" that start with K sounds.)

What do you think? Are there categories I've left out that should be included in any future revision to the Pyramid? Would YOU include Pleasure and/or Ethics, and how, and what would you call them? What books have you read this year that you would call Consonant and why?

I would be delighted to hear thoughts here! And thanks to anyone who's stuck around and read my posts through all of this month; I've really enjoyed the writing of them, and appreciate your attention.

23 Comments on Theory: The Klein Pyramid of Literary Quality, last added: 9/23/2012
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17. Week 36…and 35… and 34

Week 36

Can you even believe it?

36 weeks

Highlights of week 36 so far:

  • We had an ultrasound this week and baby is head down.

Baby, please stay that way, okay?


  • We also got to see the baby find his/her thumb and start sucking on it, which was pretty heart melting for this momma and daddy.
  • The house is getting more and more organized (thanks to my crazy nesting hormones) and baby’s ‘corner’ is starting to come together. At some point this weekend I plan on making a modified version of this mobile. I’ll post pictures when it’s done.
  • We received the car seat in the mail this week!

Thanks Mom and Dad!!

  • We also received a few of the diapers we registered for. We have decided to go the cloth diaper route and we are so thankful any time someone decides to send us one.

Week 35

35 weeks

Highlights of week 35:

  • Mom visit!! I am so thankful for the week that my mom was here. We ran errands, ate good food, watched a lot of Project Runway, and had several heart to hearts. It was hard to see her leave, but she’ll be back as soon as this baby decides to come!
  • Baby shower! Thank you to those who came to my baby shower! I feel so blessed by all of the diapers, clothes, blankets, and love that have been heaped on me and this baby.
  • Graduation! Thank you to those who came to watch me get ‘hooded.’ Again, I am so blessed by the people in my life!
  • Lesta, Christina and Annika came for a short visit! It was so good to see them and watch them get excited about the baby visibly moving around.

Before I move on to week 34, here are some precious Francie gems:


She had me laughing so hard in this next one. She loves relaxing in the sun.

First born

Oh, how much our lives are about to change. :)

Week 34

34 weeks

Highlights of week 34:

  • Celebration of 34 weeks with baby Juniper or baby Arthur.

Baby, I have loved these months where I get you all to myself, but I am starting to feel impatient for you to join the outside world. I can’t wait to hug your little body and kiss your sweet face. 

  • Celebration of 4 years with my love.

Forrest, I can hardly believe that it has already been 4 years. I am so thankful you are my husband and friend.


You are my hero.

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18. Video. Poetry. Song. It's all good.

I wanted to share a video a friend of mine put together, as I think it's poetic in the best sense of the word. The video features parents of kids with disabilities offering up what they might have told themselves on the day their child was diagnosed. Powerful stuff, I must say.

This week's Poetry Friday roundup is over at Sylvia Vardell's Poetry for Children. You'll find all sorts of goodies over there (including a book I'm thrilled to be a part of and which you'll see more about here soooooon!).

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19. Words that are Speaking to Me

“In a perfect world everything would be either black or white, right or wrong, and everyone would know the difference. But this isn’t a perfect world. The problem is people who think it… Read More

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20. using dialect to spin a tale

I've been rereading Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, and have been intrigued by his use of dialect peculiar to rural folk of northern Mississippi in the early twentieth century.  However, I've heard teachers of writing caution against a use of dialect in stories.  They seem to feel that the use of a proper syntax is the best vehicle for delivering a story of any literary quality.  They of course must allow for exceptions, like Faulkner, but would maintain it's always a hazardous undertaking.

My reflections on a few writing classes suggest that some of these hazards probably include being thought of as not politically correct, or PC; that is, of stereotyping people, especially if the writer may not be of the same socioeconomic class as his characters.  What a straitjacket for creativity.  Even if some of the vocabulary Faulkner uses for  folks of his famous Yoknapatawpha County is obscure, and the syntax  often very irregular, it certainly adds to the mood and moral dimensions of As I Lay Dying, as well as others of his novels and short stories.

One of the works-in-progress in the digital archives of my hard drive is a story that includes migrant farm workers on a truck farm near my boyhood home on Long Island.  They were from Florida, and became farming migrants as the annual growing season started up and progressed north.  I was an occasional worker on the L.I. farm in my later teens, because it was an available job and money was scarce at home.  I spent some long days in the fields alongside the migrants, harvesting vegetables and listening to their stories, and  accompanied them on some of their evening trips to beach towns near our area.  I'll use an excerpt from the draft to give an idea of what I think is a fair representation of a dialect that  intrigued me over the weeks and months I shared with my cohorts.
A field of kneeling, crawling men move forward in the muggy, warm air. The hunched over pickers are strung out along rows of radishes: Wild John, Bama Boy, and Edward, up ahead, to Artie, way back in the rear.  The migrant workers are picking four rows each, snatching up small red globes like found money, and swirling round each bunch with a cord loosened from a bundle carried beneath their belt.  Artie picks from just two rows, hesitant, gauging whether he has enough for a full bunch.  He loops his cord around the stems, pulls a double roll knot, and tosses the bunch to a pickup lane before sliding ahead on his knees.  He uses the back of a dirt-caked hand to wipe away gnats from an earlobe, and right there,  has another of those voojoo-day things, a sense of having been in a place like this before.  Like last summer, with a platoon mucking through a rice paddy in Korea, on his belly, pushing a rifle ahead.  Not so long ago, really.

Edward goes on in his laughing, singsong voice.  “So Lilly’s old man, Chester, he comin’ in a front door, still gots the postman suit and hat on, and Lily and me, we jus’ leavin’ the bedroom and comin’ out the hallway.  When I sees Chester, I fishes out a pad and pencil and I’m ‘zaminin the walls.  ‘I think I got all the numbers I needs, Ma’am, an’ I will be havin' you a es’imate a’ this paint job by tomorr'a mornin’.’”

“Well, you ain’t done no such thing,” says a picker a couple of yards back, laughing.

Edward turns and grins as he’s flying a string around another bunch of radishes.  “Sure ‘n hell I did, ‘n on the way out I tells Chester he can have a choice ‘a the five year, or the ten year warranty on the salmon paint, ‘n the black paint come automatic'al wit’ fifteen years.”

“Salmon ‘n black, my, you sure the man 'a the times,” says Bama Boy.

More laughs and digs on the story from pickers coming up behind .  A blizzard of  bunches flop into the pickup lane as  men waddle forward on their knees.  The farm owner, Mr. Mueller, the only other white picker besides Artie, scowls: damned nonsense is going too far.  He’s working just a few feet behind Edward, tight-lipped, and tugging his strings like he was garroting each redheaded bunch.
Edward has the boys humming now.  “That’s right, no jive,” Edward says, “The next day I’m layin’ low, see, case Chester do a drop-back to see this be a paint job or a snow job.  But the nex’ day—“

 “All right,  enough of that,” Mueller, says.  “We don’t need to be listening to all this trash—we're here to work.  You want to go on like that, pick up your pay and head down the road."

Silence descends, interrupted only by the flutter of leaves as radish bunches continue to loop through the air.  Later, a few comments test the subdued mood, a baseball score, deal-making on used car lots, chicory in coffee.  The migrants feel the tension, but it always be there. Mueller gets up and walks back along the pickup lane, tossing fresh bundles of strings to pickers as they call out, making a tick mark next to their names on his pad, and stops beside Artie.

I'll probably want to work more on the use of dialect in this story.  I think it holds promise for an effective telling of the story.

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21. Storytelling Thurs??? Friday (oops)

I just finished The Violinist's Thumb by Sam Kean.  Not a story book at all.  HOWEVER, Kean tells the stories of how dozens of scientists, explorers, and other learned folks - to say nothing of isolated Scandinavian villagers and good old Neanderthal - contributed to what we know about DNA, the building block of our very selves.

If Kean had given his readers, "Just the facts, Ma'am," as Joe Friday was wont to say, I would never have finished the book.  The science is daunting - all those A's and C's and G's and T's and mitochondria and mtDNA and messenger RNA and, please, please DON'T ask me what these things are (I sort of know but I will bungle it, I'm sure).  But the stories, the life histories, the theories, the mangled logic, the loves, the victories and failures...the embarrassments and personalities - even the insane experiments - add them all together and you have a page turner.  Man, that Sam Kean can sure tell a good story.

And after we find out everything that is now known about DNA, Kean tells us stories of how scientists hope to use what they have learned.  DNA is awesome.  We, this world, all living things - totally awesome and scary and thrilling and wow....  Read the book.

Storytelling is a most effective way to get humans to swallow facts and remember them.  There is an organization dedicated to helping educators teach through storytelling.  Good Stories for Good Learning is made up of storytellers and educators who have seen how their personal stories have made the subjects they were teaching become real to their students.  Adding stories, your own or folktales or riddle tales or other people's stories, brings life to learning.  Try it.

There are studies that have shown how the brain reacts to stories differently than to lectures, and there are studies that have proven that students remember the stories they hear - and the facts attached to the stories - longer than those facts without stories.  (And, yes, I promise to share links to some of those studies soon but I am already a DAY LATE with this post, OK?  You can trust me.  Honest.)

So the next time you want to make a point, or help someone remember a fact, or teach something to someone, do what Sam Kean did in his book and what effective teachers are doing in classrooms all over the place - AND what humans have been doing since language began.  Tell a story.

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22. I'm Your Biggest Pun Lover

I love a good pun...totally geek out on them. I did this using my scrap papers as patchwork on the fan blades. Then I just used black cardstock for the rest of the fan.  

here is one of my paper scrap drawers...SOOOO many!

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23. Best Books of August 2012

August 2012: 12 books and scripts read

Best Bets for Teens and Adults
The Fallen 4: Forsaken by Thomas E. Sniegoski
In the House of the Wicked: A Remy Chandler Novel by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Middle School Must-Haves
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Eighth Grade is Making Me Sick: Ginny Davis's Year in Stuff by Jennifer L. Holm and Elicia Castaldi
Confectionately Yours #2: Taking the Cake! by Lisa Papademetriou

Picture Book Pick
Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds

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24. Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Brinda nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Thank you, Brinda!

  • thank the person who nominated me 
  • nominate  bloggers whom I find inspiring 
  •  list seven things about myself 

Suze - Her writing is gorgeous. Check out her blog and you'll see.
Kelly - She writes children's books, MG, and YA. There doesn't seem to be anything she can't do.
Cherie - She published her A to Z posts. She's a flash fiction maven.
J.L. - She blogs often about Jamaica and her books take place there. She makes settings come to life.
Sherry - I adore her real-life stories about her children and pets. I'd love to frame everyday happenings in such a charming way.
Theresa - I admire her spirit and she's a supportive, genuine person. She's a rocking blogger.
Carol - I'm in awe of her page critiques and keen eye.

Seven things about myself:
  • Some days I take a series of naps rather than get a regular night's sleep.
  • This is my tenth year in teaching.
  • I love my iPad.
  • Strawberries are my favorite fruit. 
  • I try to let it go, but I can hold a grudge for a long time.
  • I like an organized desk. I don't leave my day job desk a mess and I'm always making my desk at home as neat as can be.
  • I usually plan my blog posts a week in advance.
Have a great weekend, everyone. 

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25. Words that are Speaking to Me

“In a perfect world everything would be either black or white, right or wrong, and everyone would know the difference. But this isn’t a perfect world. The problem is people who think it… Read More

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